| Welcome to Global Village Space

Saturday, May 25, 2024

High Treason Case: Special court seeks Musharraf’s answers to 27 questions

In November 2013, the treason case started months after the PML-N’s government came to power. The case remained a reason of civil-military tension during the PML-N regime and the case proceedings have almost halted during the tenure of the PTI-led government. Despite the Supreme Court’s directions to expeditiously conclude the trial, it has not yet been concluded in the last six years for several reasons.

News Desk |

The high treason case took an interesting turn on Monday as a special court has sent a questionnaire to the former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf seeking, inter alia, answers to questions regarding his role in imposing emergency in the country by holding the Constitution in abeyance.

The special court hearing the case has sent 27 questions to former president directing him to record his statement under Section 342 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Musharraf has been delaying his return to Pakistan on account of medical treatment for pain in the spinal cord and chest in Dubai.

Among the questions, an English daily reported, the three-member special bench led by Justice Tahira Safdar has enquired Musharraf why the treason case was against him and whether he wanted to appear as his own witness on oath under Section 340(2) of CrPC to disapprove of the allegations leveled against him.

“Do you want to produce any evidence in your defence,” the bench has enquired. In addition, the ex-chief of army staff (COAS) has been asked if it was correct that he being the COAS imposed a state of emergency and promulgated the Proclamation of Emergency Order 2007 on November 3, 2007, and the same was endorsed by different functionaries.

Read more:

The court questions include if it was correct that he empowered himself as president by issuing the President Order 6 of 2007 to amend the Constitution form time to time and suspended fundamental rights enshrined in articles 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19, 25 of the Constitution.

Another questions posed to the ex COAS states if it was correct that he on November 11, 2007, while exercising powers as president of Pakistan, issued with his signatures the ‘Oath of Office (judges) Order 2007’, which was circulated among different functionaries.

Also, the bench has sought Musharraf’s answer to the question whether it was correct that the oath provided in the ‘Oath of Office (judges) Order 2007’ amended the 3rd Schedule of the Constitution, requiring a judge to abide by the provisions of the Emergency Order 2007, and the Provisional Constitution Order 1 of 2007 “to perform acts and functions in accordance thereof”.

In addition, he has been asked if it was correct that pursuant to ‘Oath of Office (judges) Order 2007’, judges of the superior courts — including the then chief justice of Pakistan — were removed and new judges were appointed by him.

On November 14, 2007, the questionnaire states, whether Musharraf issued the Provisional Constitution (Amendment) Order 2007, duly signed by him while exercising his powers as chief of the army staff.

Read more:

Some other questions enquire about Musharraf’s address to the nation on November 3, 2007, wherein he declared time and again that he had proclaimed the emergency in Pakistan on his own accord and later, amendments were made in articles 175, 186-A, 198, 270B and 270C of the Constitution while Article 270AAA was added to the Constitution.

“Is it correct that the acts as noted in the proceeding questions were taken by you in your individual capacity without consulting any authority as the respective record is silent about the consultative process and giving of the assent by the respective authorities for subject acts,” the newspaper quoted another question of the special court.

Importantly, the court has asked: “is it correct that by promulgating the emergency order 2007, you (Musharraf) held in abeyance the Constitution” when his acts were not validated. “Is it correct that you by holding the Constitution in abeyance subverted the Constitution and committed the offence of high treason punishable under Section 2 of the High Treason Act (Punishment) Act 1973,” the questionnaire read.

Six Years on, Trial Continues

In November 2013, the treason case started months after the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)’s government came to power. The case remained a reason of civil-military tension during the PML-N regime and the case proceedings have almost halted during the tenure of the PTI-led government. Though the Supreme Court has directed to expeditiously conclude the trial, it has not yet been concluded in the last six years for several reasons.

Firstly, the special court had directed the federal government to include three more individuals in the treason case. Due to that order, the proceeding remained suspended for a couple of years. Later, the top court set aside the special court order and directed to conclude trial against Musharraf only.

Read more:

Secondly, during the trial, Musharraf went abroad due to medical reasons and he has yet to return. Another reason of delay was the fact that several judges, who were a part of the special court’s bench, have either been retired or elevated to the apex court. Though the questions have been sent to Musharraf but it is not yet clear if he will respond to the questionnaire or not.